- The 2022 President’s Prize winner is Hayden Asper CA.
- The prize is awarded annually to a CA ANZ member under the age of 35, to recognise an outstanding commitment to the professional body, the profession, and the community.
- Asper is a senior manager at insolvency specialist Jirsch Sutherland and has volunteered for not-for-profit organisations for six years.
Kate Boorer FCA, the President of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), has selected the chair of the CA ANZ Newcastle and Hunter Valley Regional Committee – Hayden Asper CA – as the 2022 President’s Prize winner.
The prize is awarded annually to a CA ANZ member under the age of 35, to recognise an outstanding commitment to the professional body, the profession, and the community.
“The standard of entries was extremely high this year, so it wasn’t easy to select a winner,” says Boorer. “However, Hayden’s contribution both inside and outside the Newcastle and Hunter Valley region over many years is outstanding, and I look forward to seeing him thrive as a leader in our profession.”
Asper, a senior manager at insolvency specialist Jirsch Sutherland, has volunteered at local not-for-profit organisations for six years.
“I made a decision that, between finishing my Chartered Accountants Program and starting a family, I really wanted to get involved in the community and giving back,” he says. “I looked around for opportunities and joined our local CA committee. With that came the chance to get involved with the Newcastle Bean Counters Ball.”
The annual fundraising event has generated more than A$210,000 for youth and education in the region since the inaugural ball was held in 2010.
In his six years volunteering with the ball, Asper filled the roles of treasurer and chair, resigning in July this year to give others the opportunity to step up and get involved.
Building better communities
One of the charity recipients of the fundraising ball – a homelessness assistance organisation Samaritans – is a cause close to his heart and he ended up mentoring there for a year, too.
“It’s about giving people an opportunity to break a cycle,” Asper says. “By giving the Samaritans students the best chance to take advantage of education, not only will they benefit, their future families will as well.
“The students staying at the local Samaritans house often don’t have family support,” he says. “When you don’t have a great family environment (or have parents who are very bad with money), kids can suddenly find themselves becoming adults and lacking basic financial literacy skills.
“It was identified that students would benefit from mentoring in basic financial skills – the financial literacy known as ‘home economics’ that you used to learn in school. Some of the accountants from the ball started mentoring Samaritans students and we put together a program on basic consumer economic topics.”
Local business knowledge
Asper has been involved with CA ANZ for many years, with Young Chartered Accountants and CA ANZ Rural and Regional Advisory Committees in NSW, showing “a remarkable commitment to making a difference both in his local community and across our profession,” says Boorer.
As chair of the CA ANZ Newcastle and Hunter Valley Regional Committee, Asper wanted to drive engagement, including by partnering with local businesses.
“A local family-law firm provided some fantastic training on where accountants stand when there are family issues: what to look out for and where there’s potential liability as an adviser,” he says.
As President’s Prize winner, Asper will nominate a charity to receive a cash donation from CA ANZ. He intends to support an initiative driven by a local Newcastle accountant, Victoria Lewis CA from PwC. Lewis set up a Newcastle branch of RizeUp Australia, which supports families that have fled domestic and family violence.
“I’m really excited to direct the donation to this fantastic organisation and for CA ANZ to support Victoria’s efforts in helping local victims of domestic and family violence,” he says.
Advice for fellow CAs
For CAs considering volunteering, Asper has some simple advice: “Do it!”
You don’t have to be hands-on; often the greatest contribution a CA can make is putting their hard-earned financial skills to work, says Asper. A skill set as an accountant can be used on a committee as treasurer and supporting an NFP at a desk, rather than on the ground.
“It’s often an underappreciated role but it’s a critical one, and you’re using skills you’ve spent years developing and honing,” he says. “They are worth quite a lot commercially, and you’re putting them to a pro bono use, which is really wonderful.
“People should do good things for the community because that’s how we create a more equitable society,” he adds. “You give people a chance and you help people, and everyone benefits from that.”
Pictured: Hayden Asper
“People should do good things for the community because that’s how we create a more equitable society. You give people a chance and you help people, and everyone benefits from that.”
Says Boorer: “Whether mentoring others through the CA Program, supporting his local community through the Samaritans and the ALA, or helping organise the annual Newcastle Bean Counters Ball, it’s clear that Hayden is incredibly committed to making a difference beyond the traditional day-to-day opportunities available to CAs, and it’s an honour to award him the President’s Prize for 2022.”
Find out more:
Read more about Hayden Asper and the other 12 Young Regional Members recognised by CA ANZ in 2022 here.